A father today spoke of his heartache at finding his family’s beloved pet cat - named after former Manchester City star Mario Balotelli - fatally injured after being shot with an airgun in the street.
The family pet was just one year old, and is believed to have been shot with an air pellet in an alleyway near to his home on Cocker Street, Blackpool, on Wednesday.
His distraught owner, Matthew Morrell, found his pet – named after the family’s favourite former Manchester City player Mario Balotelli – bleeding under the dining room table with a wound to his stomach.
Mr Morrell said: “He went out at about 9am, and was back in about 40 minutes later.
“Balotelli always lets us know when he’s in by meowing and he was louder than normal, but I didn’t think anything of it.
“About 10 minutes later I saw him under the dining room table and he was really unwell and not moving.
“We took him to the PDSA and they were going to operate, but the pellet had gone through his stomach and abdomen, through his intestines and into his kidney.
“The vet could haven taken his kidney out, but he would have suffered a slow and painful death eventually.
“We had to make the decision to have him put down.”
Mr Morrell, 32, said he had heard of a neighbour’s cat being shot last week, and had seen a seagull in the same alleyway with what looked like a pellet hole in its wing.
He said: “I have five children, and if someone is shooting cats and birds in that alleyway children playing in the street could get in the way, and then it’s a lot more serious.
“My kids are doing OK, they’re robust, but my four-year-old keeps asking where Balotelli is.”
Police urge public to be aware of shootings
Police have confirmed they are investigating the death of Morrell’s cat.
A spokesman said they were aware of recent incidents involving another cat on Cocker Street, Blackpool, and a seagull.
He said: “We are not linking these incidents at the moment, but we are aware of them and we are looking into them.
“We would urge members of the public with information to get in touch – we really need their help to get to the bottom of what’s happened.” Anyone with information should call 101.